Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Book Review: The End of Your Life Book Club by Will Schwalbe


Non-fiction.  I read this for the CLPL Real World Reads non-fiction book club for November 2014.  This book would be worth the read just for the list of books at the end!  This is a narrative non-fiction account of a book club that developed between Will Schwalbe and his mother when she found out she had stage four pancreatic cancer.  She had an amazing background, helping refugees all over the world, so it was not uncommon for her to come home with varying infections, so they thought she had contracted hepatitis on her last trip.  Eventually they figure it out and begin treatment, to make her life last as long as it can in the way she wanted: she was very concerned with her quality of life, not just prolonging it as long as possible.

Will Schwalbe was in the book publishing industry at the time, always an avid reader, and from a family of avid readers.  He and his mother spent much time at the hospital for her chemo treatments, and decided to use the time to discuss one of their favorite things, books.  They covered new works, classics, and used their discussions to learn more about each other and life as a human being.

If you are a reader you will connect to many of the ideas in this book.  It is not sugary-sweet, it does delve into some terrible issues and frustrating struggles, but he somehow manages to keep it contemplative and not depressing.  It is a wonderful idea to have this kind of connection with your parents or children, in fact I am trying it out myself.  I told my son he can pick the books, and we are currently reading through a young adult series, it has been pretty fun so far!

Needless to say, I recommend this book to those who love to read, those thinking about loosing a loved one, and those who want a list of some really great books to read!  I already finished one, The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, and it was one of the best books I have read in a very long time.

And so it goes...

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